Quietly running through the heart of the action in Pigeon Forge is a great paved trail known as Riverwalk Greenway, a hidden gem of a nature walk traversing the town from Patriot Park up to The Island and beyond. With benches, bathrooms and water fountains strategically placed along the way, the Greenway welcomes walkers and runners, baby strollers and bikes, and pets on a leash to use this free trail, open 24 hours each day, and lighted at night.
The 4-mile Greenway follows the course of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River and in the best part of its extent for about a mile or so it becomes a lovely shaded stroll along the riverbank, with geese and herons for company.
This municipal amenity is a fine job of urban planning, forming part of the greenway system of Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. The trail manages to slice around numerous attractions on Parkway and Teaster Lane without having to deal with major road crossings anywhere.
Riverwalk cuts through The Island shopping and entertainment center – which is actually an island in the river – across its bridges, and then actually crosses under Parkway at the northern end, making its way to the Community Center and looping around the old City Park. All on a wide, paved brick trail made expressly for people to enjoy the walk.
Starting either at the Community Center end or at the Patriot Park end, you could park for free in either place and take the Riverwalk Greenway its whole length in maybe an hour and a half. But you could also cut off the trail and stroll into a particular attraction within a hundred yards or so, enjoying your family fun for a while and then coming back to the trail to debrief and walk off the excitement.
So the Greenway becomes a unique kind of shortcut or back road for those who like to avoid crowds and noise, and avoid having to find parking at the destination, and who still want to hit some of the hot spots of Pigeon Forge – this could be the most fun way of all to get there. You can see, but not quite hear, a lot of the attractions through the trees from the Greenway, which puts you invitingly close but nicely separate.
One day we’ll make a list of all the attractions you could walk to from the Greenway, but for now, here’s a map.
The Riverwalk Greenway connects with the lovely walking path around Patriot Park if you want to stroll on, and also the hub for the Trolley system, if you want to take a ride somewhere else. The iconic Old Mill historic district and shops are here, with restaurants and perfect selfie opportunities – so this southern anchor of the Greenway is a must-visit destination for many people anyway. Parking here is free and plentiful.
To start north along the Riverwalk, find Butler Street, which tees into Old Mill Avenue by the trolleys, and realize that the superb sidewalk along this residential street is actually the marked Greenway trail. Start walking. When you get to Ashley Avenue, follow the trail as it loops around and down to the river. Here, the best part begins – enjoy the river!
Along the riverbank stroll, you’ll cross under Jake Thomas Boulevard, which we noted as a useful link between Parkway and Teaster Lane in our guide to Back Roads and Shortcuts in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. You’re now at the LeConte Center, with its massive parking lot, where you could also have parked and joined the trail.
Staying on the riverbank, you go behind the convention center and come up on The Island. Now, crossing the bridges and entering the world of Margaritaville, you may not need any further directions for where to stop and take a massive fun break. We leave this to you.
But if you continue on with your journey along the Riverwalk Greenway, the Island bridges will take you across the river and still riverbank but more open country as you eventually go under E. Wears Valley Road, and then under Parkway itself. From here you quickly arrive at the Community Center and the section of the Greenway around the old City Park.
Exploratory journey now over, it’s time to rejoin your vehicle at the Community Center parking lot, or to walk back to wherever you parked. It’s only four miles between Patriot Park and the Community Center, and you can spot the places along the way that you could skip out or into the trail, and maybe park and walk.
Wherever you go, now you know another back road in Pigeon Forge to enjoy the town and avoid some of the crush. Welcome to the Riverwalk Greenway of Pigeon Forge!
Speaking of back roads, you should know about our guide to Back Roads and Shortcuts in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. They don’t always save time, but they sure are nice to drive!.
And if the Riverwalk gives you a taste for more outdoors adventures, see our guides to Gatlinburg Hiking Trails, and our Smoky Mountains map page, as well as more outdoor ideas in our Smoky Mountains Activities guide. For even more activities, check out our Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains guide and the family-sized Things to Do in Gatlinburg With Kids. We have cabins all over the area, so pick your vacation headquarters from our Wears Valley cabins, our Pigeon Forge rental cabins and our Gatlinburg cabins – and if you’re bringing a pet check our updated list of pet friendly cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.